What is the best programming language for IoT?

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Programming languages are behind every IoT (Internet of Things) enabled device and service such as connecting a door lock to making a mug intelligent, etc.

Developers have an extensive range of languages to select from, as coding becomes even more important, not only to create new connected ‘things’ but also to solve ultimate problems with those same ‘things’.

Let’s take a peek into the coding world of IoT to determine which language best answers its requirements.

C

Without any doubt, C is one of the most essential programming languages in the IoT ecosystem as a whole. This language is the one mainly used for most IoT projects, particularly embedded devices, and is known almost anywhere on the internet field.

C has been the basis or starting point for many other coding languages over the years,, making its knowledge a rudimentary necessity for anyone in the IoT space.

For example, C has been used with IoT boards such as Arduino, and it is a basic programming language everyone must know although other languages has ranking higher than itself.

C++

C++ is an object orientated pre-processor for C and has the processing power that C does not have to run higher level languages.

The language is commonly used in projects running Linux and is also used in embedded programming.

It adds layers of abstractions, classes and objects. By adding these and by using Linux, C++ allows the developers extend programming code for embedded and IoT code.

C++ has encouraged others languages including Java, Python C#, D and more.

Java

This language is one of the programming languages renowned by experts as the best choice for the IoT, and was also the most used one in 2015. Java has borrowed coding techniques from other languages like C, C++, Mesa, Eiffel and others.

For the consumer IoT, Java is accepted because of its widespread use. However, where Java as an IoT language can flourish even more is in the industrial side of the IoT.

For instance, Oracle has built a platform, Oracle Java Embedded, to be utilized in connected vehicles and help with the incredible volumes of data mining that take place in the vehicle.

Java has built-in capabilities that make it object-orientated and portable with the least hardware dependency. It also includes hardware support libraries that can access the generic code. This will allow for the Java-written code to be able to control a device if the coder has programmed it to do so.

Javascript

Javascript is the programming language of today’s internet web browsers and HTML. It has taken some knowledge from other languages such as C, Python, Lua, and more.

The main difference between Javascript and Java is the fact that Javascript is a scripting language that shares libraries of other languages, including Java.

Javascript helps with devices interoperability due to its extensive use in today’s computing. Some of the libraries that present different development tools for Javascript Underscore.js, lodash, traverse and Async.

Python

Although Python has been commonly used to write web applications, the language has gained traction in the IoT coding space for programming projects over the last few years.

While tech giants like Google, Yahoo and NASA are using the scripting language, it has been found to be more useful than languages like C or Java for a programming problem that includes string manipulation and a search in dictionary by the Karlsruhe University in Germany.

For instance, an IoT use is an IoT Python app built on a Raspberry Pi and IBM’s Bluemix platform for Home Automation System.

Python has strength in the embedded devices space and allows the developers to build IoT applications with comprehensible data mining results.

Which one is the best?

All the above languages without any doubt have an influence in the IoT space up to an extent. However, the preference of language today boils down very much to the end-use of the application, product or service you want to give a life to.

For instance, some would suggest C is the one language to go for, and to some extent, they are not wrong. Most other languages have in fact taken bits of coding from C, like Java or Python. Nonetheless, C is great for embedded devices and a commonly used language. However, when it comes to middleware, API development or front end development it is not so up-to-scratch.

In that sense, Javascript appears to be much more ready as the programming language for the IoT, as this is the language the internet is currently speaking the most.

The Eclipse IoT Working Group had carried out the IoT Developer Survey 2015, in which they found out that amongst IoT developers, the most used languages are (in descending order) Java, C, Javascript, C++ and Python.

This is trailed by other programming languages such as Node.js, PHP, Lua, C#, Ruby, Assembler, Go and SWIFT.

Ultimately, it all boils down to which use you want to give the technology. Nonetheless, one thing is for sure, as the IoT is such a comprehensive canopy that covers things from a smart lock to a driverless class, most languages will be vital to design IoT software applications.

Developers will not miss out if they know C, and if they also add into their coding portfolio Java, Javascript, C++ and Python.

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